Basketball has been a big part of the Filipino community. It has been ingrained within Filipino culture. Carlos Roy Singson, a managing director of NBA Philippines told The New York Times, “It’s often described as a religion.” Filipinos often worship Basketball and NBA players as their idols and icons. For Ali Nizam, it is a form of escape from his struggles and hardships in life.
Ali Nizam was born in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia but he grew up in the Philippines. In February 1993, He moved to Toronto, Canada with his brother at age 10. It was the first time he met his parents. It was a difficult transition for him when he immigrated to a new country because of domestic violence caused by his father in his home. He turned to basketball as a form of refuge, it became his safe haven. Growing up, Ali’s Filipino heritage hugely impacted his involvement in sports. He played baseball and basketball when he was a kid and often joined multiple Filipino leagues and tournaments. Ali attended Senator O’Connor High School where he joined the basketball team.
Fortunately for Ali, he became self-sufficient and started working at age 16. He started working at North Toronto Community Centre and eventually became a program director. Through his job, he was molded to be an inspirational person and athlete. He coordinated various sports programs in the community center such as basketball, soccer, baseball, hockey, and various other sports.
Basketball was the only stable thing in Ali’s life. In an interview with The Rise Tribe “I went through all kinds of paths! Different jobs! 2 jobs or 3 jobs! But the consistent thing was basketball all the time.” This is where he met all his friends. Ali added to that interview “Family is non-existent to me. Friends became more of a family to me.” He bonded and formed close relationships with his teammates and coaches who became a big part of his life. Through basketball, Ali met his long time friend Joey De Leon. Joey, a certified massage therapist and Ali came together in appreciation of basketball with an idea to build something better for the community.
With many experiences throughout sports, the foundations of Core Basketball was built. The inspiration came through Ali’s passion for the game and playing high level basketball. They devised a plan to start sports camps that educate health, knowledge, and growth. Eventually, young basketball players joined the basketball camp. Core Basketball opened up a lot of opportunities for Ali.
His sole purpose for Core Basketball is to help shape young basketball players to be passionate and focused on their life goals. His intentions are to help kids who are going through hardships as he once did. “It is not about me, it is about the kids. It is about the parents who feel happy that their kids have a safe, happy, and nurtured environment” Ali mentioned in his interview. As a young kid growing up, he didn’t have a good role model in his life. His goal is to help and mentor kids by helping them through life through basketball.
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